Lawmaker thinks sending kids to private school will keep them from being bullied…

If you consider high school to have been the greatest years of your life, it can usually be assumed that you either peaked in the 11th grade or are currently on meth. High school sucks. Especially if you are the victim of bullying. Sadly, one Oklahoma lawmaker who was hoping to solve the bullying epidemic in Oklahoma public schools recently failed in passing legislation that would have surely made a great talking point in his next chamber meeting.


OKLAHOMA CITY – “He has been beaten multiple times in the head with a fist as he was walking in a classroom at the middle school,” Jessica Visalli said.

She’s a parent, pushing for new rules: giving bullied students in public schools scholarships to private institutions.

“Not everybody is blessed enough to be able to pull their kids out of public school and put them in a private school where maybe this won’t happen. This bill meant that,” she said.

Senator Rob Standridge wrote Senate Bill 570 to create the Hope Scholarship Program Act.

Come on, attending a wealthy school doesn’t prevent bullying. Most of the time it probably just changes the type of bullying kids might experience. As someone who spent ten months in college interning at a rich metro school, it seemed that often times the income disparity between the wealthy majority and the middle and lower SES minority led to disadvantages not only in regards to bullshit high school status symbols, but also when it came to what resources kids had to get them out of trouble. As with any microcosm of capitalist society, money talks, persuades, and protects. And no, I’m not just saying this because I’m still jaded after once overhearing a group of juniors with weekly allowances larger than my monthly income making fun of my old-ass Ford Escape.

How does Standridge plan to fund this plan anyway?

Standridge says he understands there’s bullying at private schools as well but wants to give those who may not have resources the option to choose.

“They’re the decision maker. Not us. So I think the parent should be empowered to make that choice.”

Students would need three documented cases of bullying within a school year to get the private school scholarship.

The cost would be $5 million from the state’s education budget.

Yes, because the best way to decrease the likelihood that a public school kid gets bullied is by diverting millions of dollars from their school system, thus likely decreasing the teacher pay budget and increasing class sizes, which as a result provides less staff to watch over and provide help for children experiencing bullying. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. But then again, I went to public school.

Caffeinated, motivated, educated. Follow Hayley on Twitter @squirrellygeek.

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11 Responses

  1. This has nothing to do with bullying. It’s a thin veil to reallocate public funds for private schools.

  2. Since the majority of “private” schools are associated with various religious denominations, this is a nothing more then a sad attempt to funnel taxpayer money to these religious groups.

  3. As someone who went to both, private school was not better than public school in regards to bullying. Also, it’d be pretty easy for a parent to claim bullying to get free taxpayer money to send their kid to a posh private school.

  4. The master plan is not to funnel more tax dollars to private schools, but to Virtual Charter schools like EPIC. Private school CEOs don’t donate to Standridge and others, but privately managed school CEOs do donate $millions.

    1. Master plan = cover up.
      The major fault with this plan is that moving the victims addresses the symptoms and not the problem…the bully. This allows the bully additional opportunities to pounce upon other innocent victims. And if you don’t think that bullies always have other victims in their sights…i.e., targets of opportunity…you don’t understand the dynamics of these assaults.
      This proposal not only fails to address the perpetrators of thes assaults, it presumes the victims are the problem. Isn’t this like telling the victims of sexual assaults that they must move in order to avoid being victimized again?
      Does this plan include mechanisms that provide victims with any type of emotional support? Or is this this going to be the responsibility of the schools to which the victims are transferred? Who provides the required oversight for these efforts and who pays the bills.
      Does this plan provide any guidelines that define and describe an action plan to deal with the bully? Does this plan incorrectly assume that a bully terrorizes only one victim at a time? What investigative tools are provided to determine if there are other victims?
      Yeah…right…move the victims…offer thoughts and prayers…problem solved.
      The importance of providing immediate relief for these victims cannot be overstated. But in our haste to help the victims we should not overlook the bully.

  5. Unless you have been a parent of a child that has been bullied so bad they considered taking their own lives, you’ll never truly understand what this bill means. It’s not about just putting them in a private school. It’s about giving them a way out. The problem is public schools in Oklahoma have swept bullying under the rug for so long that now it’s become a giant monster and they’re not willing to face the monster they’ve created. Parents have been fighting for years as they’re told that they are the issue. Teachers, who have chosen to be educators and entrusted with the safety of our children, standby and watch as a child is ruthlessly beaten by another child. No wonder these children are taking their lives because they have no hope left. Again, until you have been the parent of a bullied child, you’ll never know what this bill actually meant. So while you see it as a cover-up and trying to funnel money out of public school education, I encourage you to get out there and do your research. This bill doesn’t immediately give a family money because they want to move their kids, there are requirements they have to meet. I understand teachers are underpaid in Oklahoma, I wish they weren’t. Underpaid workers create an atmosphere of apathy. I’ve always supported teacher pay raises. I’ve picketed right along side them. Every year I ask my children’s teachers what I can provide to help their classrooms. However, $5 million is .06% of the education budget which in the grand scheme of things is nothing. Public schools have ignored bullying long enough and now it’s time they are held accountable. Parents should have access to move their child to another school district whether it be public or private and the schools who have failed to provide a safe environment for their children should have to pay for it. I have been to both public and private school, private school was a whole different atmosphere. The thing about private school is the parents are funding. When there is an issue, the administration is quick to fix it because they’re afraid of losing those funds. Maybe public school districts should learn a little from the private schools. As far as addressing the bullies, there is already a bill for that and it passed, public schools fail to enforce it which is why all of this is a problem in the first place.

    1. In my experience, private schools are just as prone to have bad bullying problems. They are also much more prone to sweep it under the rug because they have a desire to preserve their reputation because they rely on private funds. In addition, because they’re “parent-funded,” they’re not always eager to punish the students of parents who do “fund” their school. This ultimately has the potential, and has in my experience at times, created a multi-tier system of punishment where the wealthier the parent, the less their student is disciplined.

      Also, your classification of public schools “paying” for students to switch to private schools is flawed. The schools aren’t paying for it, taxpayers are. At the end of the day, this bill allows taxpayer money to be used to put someone’s child into private school. It’s a pretty easily abused system and doesn’t actually address the real problem.

      Bullying is a problem. I sympathize with it and do think schools should have more resources and recourse to address the bullying problems they have without fear of reprisal from lawsuit happy parents. But this isn’t the way to do it.

  6. Now this is what I call bullying … oh and excessive force provided law enforcement…

    1. This has Nothing to do with Bullying nor HI-School. It’s a Abuse of law enforcement practices of Not crossing your “T” and Dotting your “I” ‘s, Double checking your sources and checking Locations, It’s abuse of no knock warrants for wanting their 15 minutes of Fame for a Good Drug Bust !

  7. The author of this piece by her own admission comes from a family of cops…so for me to equate bullying in school to bullish tactics by cops is not a stretch for me BJ…. after all let’s think about who law enforcement likes to recruit and train… bullies O the lead investigator was a thirty year veteran of law enforcement….. how many pigs do you think he’s trained in that time…. how many people have had there lives ruined…. now wrap your head around the fact that when the MAN kicked in the door the first thing they did is shoot the family dog… but it’s a no knock warrant they say…. well what if they had knocked….. sound like some bullying went on that day…. I wonder where they learned it….

  8. What a bunch of shit. Like Ok has the $ to cater? They beg for paper & pencils. I went to public schools and the bully problem was low. The only cure for bullying is to take matters in your own hands–Your kid simply needs to kick their ass.

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